LONDON — Theresa May is ready to turn the UK into a low-tax, low-regulation haven after Brexit, her spokesperson confirmed today.
Asked whether the prime minister backed comments made by the Chancellor Philip Hammond that the UK could be forced to abandon it’s “European economy with European style taxation” her spokesperson said she “stands ready to do so.”
Hammond was asked at the weekend by the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag whether he was willing to turn the UK into “the tax haven of Europe”.
He replied that while he “personally [hopes] we will be able to remain in the mainstream of European economic and social thinking,” EU threats to cut off single market access for the UK meant we may “become something different.”
“Most of us who had voted Remain would like the UK to remain a recognisably European-style economy with European-style taxation systems, European-style regulation systems etc,” Hammond said.
“I personally hope we will be able to remain in the mainstream of European economic and social thinking. But if we are forced to be something different, then we will have to become something different.”
Downing Street’s comments are likely to add to accusations from Jeremy Corbyn at the weekend that the government intends to turn Britain into a “bargain basement” economy.
“She appears to be heading us in the direction of a bargain basement economy on the shores of Europe,” the Labour leader told the Andrew Marr show on Sunday.
“We will lose access to half of our export market. It seems to me an extremely risky strategy.”
Downing Street also responded to an interview by Donald Trump in which he suggested that a new free trade deal between the UK and US could be “done very quickly.”
The prime minister’s spokesperson said that while they welcomed Trump’s “enthusiasm and energy” the UK could not enter negotiations until the two-year Article 50 process had been completed.
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